The Celtic Tree Month of Elder (Ruis)

Elder Blossoms by Michael & Christa Richert/freeimages.com

The Celtic Tree Month of Elder (Ruis)
November 25 – December 22nd

The theme for this month is death, rebirth and the return of light. This month begins with the dark time of the year and ends with the birth of the sun at the Winter Solstice. Other names for this tree are Frau Holle (German), Eldrum, Ellhorn, Boure Tree, Lady Ellhorn. The word Elder comes from the anglo-saxon word “aeld” meaning fire. Evidently the young branches have hollow stems which make them useful in making a fire.

TREE INFORMATION

The elder tree is both a tree and a shrub and are members of the honeysuckle family. The shrub grows to about 30 ft. while the tree grows to around 50 ft. Both varieties like damp places along the woods edge. Elder has incredible regenerative power and can quickly regrow branches and roots. The tree has beautiful white flowers in the spring, growing in formations that resemble a bridal wreath. The flowers become reddish-black berries and make the most wonderful jellies, jams and syrups. The branches of the elder tree have a strong resemblance to bones when peeled of their bark. In the middle of the branches is a spongy center that looks similar to marrow. An unsuspecting person might actually believe the bare branches to be human bones!

Elderberries by John Nyberg/freeimages.com

ELDER IN HEALING

Elder is also a medicinal plant, the berries and flowers have many uses. However, it’s good to point out that the on the whole elder is considered poisonous. The dried berries and flowers make wonderful tea which is high in vitamins A, C, iron, Calcium and Potassium. This makes it beneficial for colds and sore throats. A distilled version of the flowers is good for treating cuts, burns and scrapes. Please keep in mind that if you pick elder berries make darn sure that they are ripe. Unripe elder berries cause severe diarrhea.

The Tree by Bill Davenport freeimages.com

ELDER IN MAGIC & MYTH

The Elder has long been associated with Witches but it appears in Christian myths as the tree of doom. Judas was said to have hung himself from one and the cross of Jesus was made of Elder wood.

The Celts believed that these trees were homes to the Sidhe and treated them with respect, when cut the tree produces a reddish sap that made people believe that the spirit within the tree had been hurt. It is considered very bad luck to harm one but if you must cut or prune an elder tree one should always ask permission first. It is also bad luck to make a cradle for a baby out of elder, this is because of the trees association with death. Planting an elder tree near your home will create good relations with the fae as well as bringing prosperity to the home and it’s inhabitants. Even today there remain some taboos against burning the wood. Placing elder wood on your windowsill will keep vampires away, you can also wear it to the same effect. The folk lore about vampires is said to be much older than the the use of garlic.

Use elder for spells of banishing, faery magic, healing, protection and prosperity. Elder wood is also good for making magical tools, but remember to ask first!

As a magical name Elder is good for the person who is serious about magic. It also invokes mystery, luck and a sturdiness of character.

ABOUT ELDER PEOPLE

People born in the Month of Elder can be wonderful healers and seers as well as gifted musicians. They are slow to mature and waste time and energy on things not worth while. They can be very curious about profound subjects and study these things intensely. As healers or seers, elder people must choose their words carefully as they can be very persuasive with their speech. They must be careful not to sway the thinking of others and let them make their own decisions.

CORRESPONDENCES

Deities: The White Goddess, Danu, Cailleach, Boann, Hel, Frey, Vulcan, Venus

Animals: All white animals, raven, pheasant

Sacred Stones: Red Jasper, jet, bloodstone

Compiled and written by Cat from the following sources:
the crystal forest
controversical.com
dutchie.org
The New Book of Magical Names, Phoenix McFarland
Cunninghams Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Scott Cunningham
Flower and Tree Magic, Richard Webster

Cat’s Bit’s & Pieces: Celtic Month of Rowan

CBP January
Celtic Month of Rowan  January 21 РFebruary 17

TREE INFORMATION

The Rowan tree is also known as the Mountain Ash and are members of the rose family. They can be found growing among ancient settlements and ruins in Europe where they grow “like weeds”, although many of these trees were planted there as well. Rowans can grow almost anywhere and do well in poor soil, which would explain their growth in many areas. It grows well in high altitude and can grow up to 40 ft in height and produces flowers in May, after which come the red berries. The berries are said to be sacred food of the gods which were jealously guarded and kept away from man. The tree itself has a round , open top crown and the leaves which turn red in the fall are 4-8 inches in length and oblong with serrated edges along the point. The berries grow in clusters and each berry has a small design that resembles a pentagram on it. It was this pentagram “design” that linked this tree to witchcraft during the 15th and 16th centuries, it’s reputation became so negative that herbalist’s stopped using it for fear of being labeled as a witch.

The bark from the Rowan tree is used for tanning and making dye and the berries are edible and make great jams and jellies. The berries are also still used in herbal medicine as a tea for treating diarrhea and they are very high in vitamin C which make them useful for treating colds.

rowan-glory-1346856

ROWAN IN MYTH & MAGICK

Rowan is also known as a fairy tree and as such it is not advisable to cut branches from the tree itself. If you need to cut branches from one you should always leave the Fae a gift of yourself, like hair or fingernail clippings. By using this tree it is said that you will be protected by the Fae themselves. However, fallen branches are the best if you are going to use the wood. Rowan is thought to be one of the sacred druid trees and can be found growing near many of the ancient stone circles and it played a main role in some of their ceremonies.

In popular folklore Rowan trees could be planted next to your home as protection against lightning and to promote good luck while sprigs of Rowan could also be hung over doors in the home to ward off the evil eye or if you wore one, it kept the fairies from kidnapping you. They were even planted in churchyards to watch over the dead and protect the living from ghosts. One very popular European custom that was still being used approximately 100 years ago was the construction of rowan wood crosses. These “ornaments” of protection were made from twigs and tied with red thread. Every home had one over the front door as did seedbeds, barns and pigsty’s. They were also given to babies before they could be baptized. At Beltane the berries were sewn into a circle, and hung over windows to prevent lightning strikes or strung into necklaces to ward off the evil eye. The berries were also added to healing charms to help the patient to recover faster.

Runestaves were at one time made from Rowan wood simply because of it’s protective powers as are wands and dowsing rods.

Use Rowan in spells for blessings, grounding & centering, protection, warding against psychic attack, protection against enchantment.

ROWAN PEOPLE

People born in the Month of Rowan are visionaries and strong humanitarians. They are very passionate in what they believe in and can lean toward over-zealous at times. New Moon Rowan people (born in the 1st two weeks of the month) are easily frustrated with others who fail to see or help with the greater awareness of issues like racism, bigotry and gereal ignorance. Full Moon Rowan People (born in the last 2 weeks of the month) tend to make big promises, which are usually more than they can handle. They come through to an extent but are unable to completely follow through.

CORRESPONDENCES

Rowan is also known by these names: Delight of the Eye, Quickbeam, Ran Tree, Sorb Apple, Wicken Tree, Witchtree, Thor’s Helper

Deities: Dagda, Brigid, Hecate, Thor, Cerridwen, Vulcan, Pan, Herne, Brigantia

Animals: Ducks, quail

Sacred Stones: Peridot, Smoky Quartz, Diamond

Written by Cat from the following sources:

the crystal forest
controversical.com
dutchie.org
The New Book of Magical Names, Phoenix McFarland
Cunninghams Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs, Scott Cunningham
Flower and Tree Magic, Richard Webster
Tree Totem.com
Photo Rowan Glory freeimages.com